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16 dead after blast outside restaurant in Somalia's capital

Published
Somalis carry away a man who was wounded after blast outside a restaurant in Mogadishu, Somalia,  Thursday, March 28, 2019. A Somali police officer says an explosives-laden vehicle has detonated outside a restaurant in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — An explosives-laden vehicle detonated outside a busy restaurant in Somalia's capital, killing at least 16 people, police said Thursday.

Capt. Mohamed Hussein told The Associated Press that the blast occurred as the restaurant in Mogadishu's Waberi district was crowded with diners.

At least 17 other people were wounded, Col. Mohamed Hassan said.

The al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group claimed responsibility. The group often targets high-profile areas in Mogadishu with suicide bombings. Those often include security checkpoints, hotels and government offices.

The extremist group was chased out of the capital several years ago but continues to hold large parts of rural southern and central Somalia, taxing local people and travelers to fund its deadly quest to establish an Islamic state. It has thousands of fighters.

The United States military has dramatically increased the number of deadly airstrikes against al-Shabab since President Donald Trump took office. The U.S. is one of a number of actors fighting al-Shabab, including a multinational African Union force, Somali forces and Kenyan troops.

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Medics carry away the dead body of a woman killed after a blast outside a restaurant in Mogadishu, Somalia, Thursday, March 28, 2019. A Somali police officer says an explosives-laden vehicle has detonated outside a restaurant in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)
A policeman walks past a destroyed vehicle after an attack using an explosives-laden vehicle on a restaurant in Mogadishu, Somalia Thursday, March 28, 2019. Police say at least 10 people have been killed and others wounded in the car bomb blast outside the restaurant in the Somali capital. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)
Police and civilians walk past a destroyed vehicle after an attack using an explosives-laden vehicle on a restaurant in Mogadishu, Somalia Thursday, March 28, 2019. Police say at least 10 people have been killed and others wounded in the car bomb blast outside the restaurant in the Somali capital. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)
Somalis walk near wreckage at the scene following an attack outside a restaurant in Mogadishu, Somalia Thursday, March 28, 2019.  An explosives-laden vehicle detonated outside a busy restaurant in Somalia's capital, killing at least 10 people, police said Thursday. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)
Somalis walk near wreckage at the scene following an attack of an explosives-laden vehicle,  in Mogadishu, Somalia Thursday, March 28, 2019. Police say at least 10 people have been killed and others wounded in the car bomb blast outside a restaurant in the Somali capital. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)
Somalis walk near wreckage at the scene following an attack of an explosives-laden vehicle,  in Mogadishu, Somalia Thursday, March 28, 2019. Police say at least 10 people have been killed and others wounded in the car bomb blast outside a restaurant in the Somali capital. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)
Somalis walk near wreckage at the scene following an attack of an explosives-laden vehicle, in Mogadishu, Somalia Thursday, March 28, 2019. Police say at least 10 people have been killed and others wounded in the car bomb blast outside a restaurant in the Somali capital. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)
Somalis walk near wreckage at the scene following an attack outside a restaurant in Mogadishu, Somalia Thursday, March 28, 2019.  An explosives-laden vehicle detonated outside a busy restaurant in Somalia's capital, killing at least 10 people, police said Thursday. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)
Somalis walk near wreckage at the scene following an attack outside a restaurant in Mogadishu, Somalia Thursday, March 28, 2019. An explosives-laden vehicle detonated outside a busy restaurant in Somalia's capital, killing at least 10 people, police said Thursday. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)
Medics carry away the dead body of a woman killed after a blast outside a restaurant in Mogadishu, Somalia, Thursday, March 28, 2019. A Somali police officer says an explosives-laden vehicle has detonated outside a restaurant in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)
Medics carry away the dead body of a woman killed after a blast outside a restaurant in Mogadishu, Somalia, Thursday, March 28, 2019. A Somali police officer says an explosives-laden vehicle has detonated outside a restaurant in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)
Police and civilians walk past a destroyed vehicle after an attack using an explosives-laden vehicle on a restaurant in Mogadishu, Somalia Thursday, March 28, 2019. Police say at least 10 people have been killed and others wounded in the car bomb blast outside the restaurant in the Somali capital. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)
Police and civilians walk past a destroyed vehicle after an attack using an explosives-laden vehicle on a restaurant in Mogadishu, Somalia Thursday, March 28, 2019. Police say at least 10 people have been killed and others wounded in the car bomb blast outside the restaurant in the Somali capital. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)
Somalis carry away a man who was wounded after blast outside a restaurant in Mogadishu, Somalia,  Thursday, March 28, 2019. A Somali police officer says an explosives-laden vehicle has detonated outside a restaurant in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)
Somalis carry away a man who was wounded after blast outside a restaurant in Mogadishu, Somalia, Thursday, March 28, 2019. A Somali police officer says an explosives-laden vehicle has detonated outside a restaurant in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)
A policeman walks past a destroyed vehicle after an attack using an explosives-laden vehicle on a restaurant in Mogadishu, Somalia Thursday, March 28, 2019. Police say at least 10 people have been killed and others wounded in the car bomb blast outside the restaurant in the Somali capital. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)
A policeman walks past a destroyed vehicle after an attack using an explosives-laden vehicle on a restaurant in Mogadishu, Somalia Thursday, March 28, 2019. Police say at least 10 people have been killed and others wounded in the car bomb blast outside the restaurant in the Somali capital. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)